Not Your Problem?

It would serve Lake Park residents well to pay attention to and consider how the commission members vote at the upcoming hearings regarding the Marina Village project. Keep in mind that while this issue at hand (regarding how the land may be used) may seem merely like a concern for residents on Lake Shore Drive, what happens there speaks to the handling of Lake Park as a whole… your Lake Park. The day will quite likely come when any one of us in this town will have to count on these leaders to make the right decisions for OUR neighborhoods, whether those decisions relate to changes the town desires, changes WE want, or more importantly…our desire to be left alone to live our lives as we see fit in our own homes and on the streets where we live. And we need to know they will follow the law.

If you are curious about those in leadership in Lake Park, start by asking some questions.

For starters…

  • Are Lake Park leaders listening to and responding on behalf of Lake Park residents or do they mainly seem to make plans and decisions based on potential revenue streams?
  • Are they operating in stealth mode?
  • Are they in a position to and/or do they hand out incentives and favors which could help secure support for themselves if/when needed in the future?
  • Are the facts and figures they quote accurate?
  • Have you ever checked their figures or do you just take them at their word?

You see, there have been many instances of questions being sidestepped at town meetings, or when questions seem to hit too close to home in public comments or during commission discussion/debate, an answer might be given with the all too familiar: “I don’t have those papers/that information in front of me right now”. This happened twice last night during the CRA meeting by the Town Manager (CRA Executive Director) alone when figures were requested.

What appears to be a clouding of the truth happens rather regularly. Usually we would be none the wiser, except as time goes by and we pay attention, other pieces of the story find their way out and we begin to see the full picture and/or the inconsistencies, sometimes too late. Other times partial “truths” are told which might provide someone cover, and truths which are not so helpful to them are neglected. Or darn if they don’t just happen to have been left back at the office as well! Too bad…Sorry.

In other cases, facts and figures are released, but without in depth research and constant follow up, how do we know if they are even accurate?

Funny you should ask

Below you will find what was discovered a couple of weeks ago when our Marina’s occupancy numbers in relation to those of nearby marinas were released by staff. On the surface, a quick glance would give the reader a satisfied sense of pride in our marina’s place at the head of the crowd in terms of marina occupancy. The figures perhaps offer a boost to the town’s handling of marina operations (a topic often brought to the town commission for discussion during public comment, etc. but promptly beat back by figures such as this).

However, after Citizens Requiring Accountability from Politicians received these figures, word of the reported numbers made their way to Mr. Bryan Cheney, Director of Operations at Sail Fish Marina, who wrote a letter to the town manager debunking those provided in respect to his Marina.

This led Jim Lloyd, a Yacht Broker very familiar with these marinas, to do a little research of his own, up close and in person, at each of the marinas in question. Here are the two sets of numbers; those reported by the town and those witnessed in person by Mr. Lloyd:

Marina    What the LP Marina Dir. Said:     What Jim Saw:

        Occupancy – 10/13/11                  Occupancy – 10/26/11

Lake Park             46%    103 slips                       39 boats  36%   108 slips
Old Port Cove      39 %   98 slips                         62 boats  60%   102 slips
Cannons Port      36%    48 slips                         22 boats  40%   54 slips
Sailfish                  28%   98 slips                         43 boats  51%    85 slips
Loggerhead          31%   121 slips                        97 boats  80%   121 slips
North Palm Beach 32 %  109 slips                    59 boats  54%    109 slips
Riviera Beach       not reported                            80 boats 93%     86 slips
New Port Cove       ”      ”                                        47 boats  78%    60 slips

So where did the Marina Director get the numbers he quoted and how many other times in this administration are we being provided information that is blatantly incorrect and yet accepting it as truth? It’s time to begin following up and truly holding our town leaders to account on EVERYTHING!

Please don’t assume you are safe in your home or in your neighborhood just because some of the current concerns in town are playing out over by the Marina and you don’t live there. What’s important to watch are the plans and the procedures being used by town staff and commission. Keep tabs of who considers residents and the law when voting and who votes to advance personal goals. When you find yourself saying “huh?” to things being proclaimed while watching town meetings, or when oddities happen that make you say “hmmm”, state them out loud. Ask the questions. Bring them to light. Others may be sensing the same things. Others need to know they are not alone in what they see and hear that seems out of place or questionable.

An Orchestrated Show?

One such instance happened last night when Ms. Longtin, in her closing comments at the CRA meeting, questioned why earlier, during public comments, a host of people “just happened” to come out of the woodwork to sing the praises of Ms. Spicer and the CRA as if Ms. Spicer’s job or the future of the CRA were on the line. What was that all about?, Ms. Longtin wondered aloud. Thank you, Commissioner for saying what many were thinking! This was the second meeting in a row where an unexplained “sponteneous” influx of CRA business owners all convened to say the same thing (and notably similar in effect to the influx of town employees who came to recite health insurance and benefit speeches and praise for Ms. Davis during the budget discussion on that matter). It was as if someone had orchestrated the show, knowing the need ahead of time, which these individuals otherwise likely wouldn’t have.

The sentiments being parroted by CRA business owners at the CRA meeting seemed like a set up. But by whom, and why? Were favors provided or promised in return for words of praise? Were they given a general template to follow? Were any (or perhaps all) of those who came to speak grant recipients of some kind? Was it about providing promotion for their businesses in front of the audience at the meeting and to those watching at home? Whatever it was, it certainly appeared manufactured and that is of great concern, and we need to be alert to such things.

Keep asking questions, keep looking hard, listening well, matching up stated “facts” with actual reality. Then voice what you see, hear and sense is happening. Follow the clues. They are everywhere.

Because actually…what you get WILL be your problem if you do not stand guard over your town.